Thursday, May 11, 2006


It is well known that Italian cities have some of the most stylish shops in the world and Modica is no exception. The shoe shops are fantastic and I can think of five on the Via Sacro Cuore alone. Beautiful bags can be bought in these and there is also Carpisa for cheaper, more fun styles.
Then there is Giorgio for fine china and upmarket household items; he keeps a stock of up-market luggage and bags, too.

Perfumeries abound; there are two nearby on Sacro Cuore, some cheaper ones along this street, others in the various shopping complexes and several in Modica Bassa. [You don't think I'd go to a town where I couldn't get my make-up, do you?!] I miss walk-in nail bars, though.

For clothes there are expensive and exclusive stores as well as more down-to-earth ones. But like most British people, I miss an M&S with the goods clearly displayed and where I can buy a basic item of clothing quickly.

There are several small draper's shops - which scare me to death as if I want to buy a pair of knickers I am used to browsing those on display, not having them shown to me one by one and having to utter my size when there are men in the shop! - and tiny sartorie where you can get alterations and repairs done quickly and cheaply. [I like to imagine them sewing and chattering away like the mice in "The Tailor of Gloucester" as I pass.]

Most importantly for me, there are good bookshops, such as the Libreria Mondadori in Modica Bassa where you can browse and they will order books for you. They also keep a reasonable stock of books in English. The other librerie in Modica Bassa are not "browseable" shops. Then there is Equilibri in this street - how dangerous for me to live so near a bookshop!

But I do miss a good department store! It is odd that in Modica, where new stores are opening every day, there seems to be no demand for one.
There is a Rinascente department store in Catania [about two hours away] and, though it is not a patch on the one in Milan, you can spend a pleasant few hours there. It has a welcoming bar, too - at least, I thought it was welcoming on my visits here and it became part of my dream as I imagined my life here; I would have the occasional shopping trip to Catania and have a bite to eat in the Rinascente café. However, the last time I was there, in September, it was very crowded and I found the staff off-hand. I had two gin and tonics and a bite to eat and then, as I was meeting a friend coming into the airport and wasn't sure where the stop was for the airport bus, I thought I'd better find out where the nearest taxi rank was, just in case I couldn't find it. So I enquired at the cash desk as I was paying the bill and they directed me politely enough. Then, as I was walking towards the ladies' [which could do with proper attention, by the way] I heard them laughing and saying, "She's had two gin and tonics and now she needs a taxi"! I was devastated by that and I don't know why I didn't go and tell them what I thought of them - but I didn't. Anyway, the careless-talking fools have ensured that I eat elsewhere on future visits to Catania! I haven't felt the need to go there since, though, as I haven't found it necessary to shop outside Modica. Now that's quite a compliment to the place from a capital-city-gal like me!

I've always found it strange, in France and Italy, not to have change put in my hand in shops; instead, it is slammed on the counter. But I am finally getting used to it and it no longer irritates.

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